Sunday 4 October 2009

A sceptical view to euroscepticism

Fellow blogger Nosemonkey, probably the most experienced of all of us, has written a marvellous piece on why euroscepticism as it is widely practised is in no way helpful.

It's worth to read the whole article, but I'd just like to quote the most representative part:
[...] [E]urosceptic arguments still seem largely to revolve around vague emotional appeals to patriotism and national myths, topped off with objectively false misrepresentations of what it is the EU does and is doing. Anyone with half a brain who looks at these arguments for half a minute will write them off as the nonsense that they are – and the eurosceptic cause takes yet another hit.

Every time you make such wild claims – and they turn out to be unfounded – you are alienating potential allies. When Lisbon comes into force and life in the EU continues much as before, proving all the claims that this treaty is in any way significant to be objectively false (because no matter what many eurosceptics claim, Lisbon *is* just a tidying-up exercise) – when member states continue to run themselves, when the threatened abortion clinics and enforced involvement in military campaigns fail to materialise – then anyone with half a brain will be able to see that the claims of the eurosceptics were false, and so stop paying them any further attention. [...]
I fully agree with Nosemonkey, although I would point out to the difference of the terms "EU-sceptic" (being sceptic of the institutional set-up and functioning of the EU) and "eurosceptic" (being against any form of European political co-operation or democracy) when talking about the subject.

As you may have noticed, I call myself "a europhile EU-sceptic", meaning that as a convinced European citizen I am in favour of a common European political space and a democratic system underlying any form of European decision making while being critical or sceptic about whether the present set-up of the EU institutions is the best way to achieve that.

So what I think is necessary is to criticise the institutions for how they actually work, for how they fail to achieve the self-set goals or the goals we think they should be able to achieve.

In order to do this, we need to be thorough, we need to be precise, and we need to do research on real documents or real-life activities on which we base our criticism. We don't need to blame the Commission if the Council is to blame. We don't need to attack bureaucrats when European Parliament rapporteurs screw up.

What we need to do is to run targeted hits against the failures while highlighting the successes. We need to strengthen those who are bringing the EU forward while campaigning against those who are just more of the same old problems.

So EU-scepticism can be helpful for the European Union, but only if we take it to a level where our critique is heard by those who are able to actually change something - and if it is just their own behaviour.


Ralf Grahn said...

One problem is that Euroscepticism has become a euphemism for anti-European and anti-EU.

It would be better to clean up the jargon.